When No One Is Watching

Morrow. Sept. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780062982650. pap. $16.99. THRILLER
Sudden disappearances and thinly veiled threats coincide in this first outing into the thriller genre from best-selling romance author Cole (“Reluctant Royals” series). The story sees an influx of white buyers of the Black-owned brownstones in the tree-lined Brooklyn neighborhood, where Sydney Green and her ailing mother own a home, begin to seem not so coincidental. Told in two voices—Sydney’s, shaken but strong, and her brooding white neighbor, Theo’s—this twisty tale tackles with a somber wit ongoing issues of race, class inequity, social injustice, and predatory housing practices. Why is Sydney, whose interest in local history makes her suspect it’s repeating itself, paranoid the more she learns about the mysterious corporation moving in, buying up properties, and pricing longtime residents out of their homes? As Sydney’s and Theo’s interest in each other grows and danger mounts, can they really trust each other?
VERDICT This sizzling summer thriller starts on low and heats up fast. Smart, sexy, and surprising, this suspenseful novel revealing the underbelly of urban gentrification will keep readers reading late into the night. [See “Turn the Page: Editors’ Fall Picks,” LJ 8/20.]
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